Maintaining Your Windshield – Good Habits for a Happy Windshield
1. Clean the Glass Regularly
Whenever your car is detailed, whether you do it yourself or have it done professionally, be sure all the glass is cleaned once the rest of the work is done.
Road dirt, bug guts and weather can take a toll on your windshield’s visibility. Though it may look clean, you may notice spots or a film build up that makes it more difficult to see when driving, particularly in direct sunlight. Also, clean the inside of the glass as well. Putting down a towel to protect your dashboard will catch any excess spray.
How to Clean Your Windshield
Glass.com Operations Manager, Daniel Snow demonstrates how to properly clean your car’s windshield
What (Not) to Use to Clean Your Windshield
Those weird tricks like soda and shaving cream probably don’t work to clean your windshield. And one thing you should definitely stay away from are ammonia-based products. This means most household glass cleaners. Ammonia, including its fumes, can cause damage to plastic, rubber, vinyl and leather. It can also damage the tint on your auto glass. So what is the best way to clean a windshield?
Your best bet for a clean windshield is to stick with auto glass cleaners and a good microfiber towel. When you’re cleaning the glass, interior or exterior, be sure to use one side of the towel for the actual cleaning and the other side to buff out the glass to clear it of any residue.
Leave the Glass for Last
If you’re washing, waxing or detailing your entire car, save the glass for last. This will prevent the glass from catching any residue caused by cleaning the car. Also, do the work out of direct sunlight, if possible. Direct sunlight causes cleaners to evaporate quickly, and this can leave streaks or marks. Pay close attention to the edges of the glass, especially the top edge, and those hard-to-reach places. If you can’t get your hand and cleaning cloth into those areas, check out your local auto parts store for a hand tool specifically designed for glass cleaning.
Not Just the Windshield
Also, don’t forget about the wipers. Part of keeping a clean windshield is doing the proper maintenance of them, so as to keep the rubber from drying out or cracking. You can use glass cleaner for this purpose as well to clean the blade. And be sure to check them often to make sure they work properly and hug the glass. If they seem dried out or otherwise worn, replace them as soon as you are able.
Maintaining your windshield takes only a little time and the payoff is big. It helps you to see better through your glass and reduces the chance of your windshield wipers causing a ding or a scrape, or even a rock from striking your glass on the highway.
2. Replace Your Windshield Wipers
If the windshield wipers are beyond the point of just needing a good cleaning, it might be time to replace them. Windshield wipers get a surprisingly good workout through the seasons. They help clear your windshield of rain, snow and the inevitable bug splat. In turn, you need a keep an eye on them and make sure they are replaced when their effectiveness wears out.
Maintaining your windshield should include replacing wipers every six months to a year, depending on use and the weather. Worn out windshield wipers don’t just leave streaks when cleaning off the weather, but they also have the potential to scratch the glass.
If the rubber wears down enough, the metal arms that holds the rubber could come in contact with the glass. If you ever start to hear a scraping or scratching noise, it’s time to take your vehicle to the closest auto shop for a wiper replacement.
Auto glass repair and replacement companies often have popular wipers on hand. They may offer to replace them when they replace or repair the glass.
You can also go to a do-it-yourself vehicle shop or even big box retailers and purchase your windshield wipers. Employees at most glass shops and places like Advanced Auto Parts are happy to help you pull off your older wipers and put on the new ones.
A quick, 15-minute purchase could help prolong the life of your glass and prevent any scratches from old worn-out wipers.
3. Keep Your Distance
A windshield chip is bound to happen if you regularly drive on highways. However, there are things you can do to help lessen the chance.
When traveling at high speeds on the highway, be sure to keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you. This is especially true when that vehicle is a large truck.
The car in front of you will likely kick up kick up stones or lose particles on the road. These are infamous for flying back and dinging your windshield. However, if you keep your distance, the chances this flying stone will land on your windshield lessens.
4. If a Chip Happens
Your windshield will likely get a chip at some point. Though you make take preventative measures, and regularly clean your windshield and replace your wipers, it is bound to occur at some point. When this happens, your best bet is to get the windshield repaired as soon as possible. By repairing it sooner than later, you can prevent that chip from spreading and requiring you to replace your glass.